The Need to Change our Current Path

In the society that we live in today, there is such an overwhelming desire to just make money and big businesses that are stuck in this capitalist system will not put the environment before edging out their competition. The way that the United States, and the world in general, is headed is going to have catastrophic effects on the environment and in turn, the people – starting from the people living in poverty, even though they are not the source of the issue itself. There are so many ways to reduce waste and consumption and people just need to open their eyes to new ideas and make small changes in their lifestyles. Some of these ways include considering a zero-waste lifestyle, beginning a garden and making some of your own food and recycling as much as possible.

Moreover, one way to reduce waste is to look into what it takes to live a life with zero waste. Yes, of course this is extreme; however, there are a lot of smaller things that people could start to introduce to their daily lives and then go from there. For example, Lauren from her blog Trash is for Tossers says that the process of living a zero waste lifestyle is not something that is just going to happen overnight or even in a week. First off, someone could stop buying plastic packaged items from the grocery store and buy items from bulk using your own containers. Something like this is so easy to incorporate into a lifestyle and in the long run is going to save you money because you will be just paying for the food you want and not all of the extra packaging.

Furthermore, another way to reduce waste and consumption is to start growing some of your own food through a garden in your yard or neighborhood. Ron Finley was even able to start his urban gardening in South Los Angeles. If he was able to do it along the sidewalks of a city, then it is definitely possible to do it in any area. This could make such a difference in a home and could allow a family or neighborhood to start a closed-loop system and then start composting as well. Also, if there are kids in the family or neighborhood it is so good for them to see how they can grow their own food and actually eat something healthy rather than just whatever is put in front of them and they are okay with it. Mr. Finley was so inspiring the way that he brought the gardening to his city in the vacant lots and how he was able to help so many people. He made it very clear that you can do it too, it does not take that much work – just one person to really get it going. Do not sit and wait for someone else to come out and make the change – there is no time for that. Go out and be the change that is needed right now.

Additionally, recycling is so unbelievably important in the way that people discard their waste because it makes a big difference in the volume of things that end up in landfills. It is so much better if people buy recycled goods from the start, if they are not able to buy it in bulk or make it themselves, because that prolongs keeping the items out of the landfill. The image to the right is a landfill with even more waste being loaded into it. People need to realize that the trash does not just stay there. Once landfill gets to a certain capacity, it is then burned off to make more room for the next load of trash that comes in. This is even worse because now the levels of greenhouse gas emissions are higher than they should be and there are no strict regulations on the degrees Celsius of increase anymore. We were pulled out of the Paris Agreement about a year ago and now we are not even held accountable by shame for the global warming we are causing because of our corrupted capitalist system. Ideally, the world’s temperature would not be increasing at all; however, at this rate our temperature will be increasing by seven degrees Celsius and that is going to have a horrible impact on the environment and the ways that people are currently living. The sea levels are rising and soon the houses of people who live close to the water are going to be in danger of major disasters during the hurricane season.

As a matter of fact, recycling would be one of the easiest ways to kickstart reducing waste and consumption and it has a massive positive impact on the environment. This article talks about the easy steps that can be taken to choose items that can be reused rather than tossed into a landfill and the change that it will make in the environment. Buying glass containers to carry food in rather than using plastic zip lock bags every day is just one thing that could be a small change with a large impact. Also, in the long run this would save the consume money because zip lock bags are thrown away after one use and the glass container would just be washed and reused.

All in all, it is so important to take reducing waste and consumption seriously, if not for you then for your future kids and grandkids. We do not want to live in a world full of waste and increased national disasters because we could not make a change now. The changes are not difficult, just start with the small things and work towards a zero-waste lifestyle, growing your own food and recycling as much as possible.

 

 

Is Climate Change Important? You Decide.

“Trump Withdrawals the US from the Paris Climate Agreement”. You may have seen this news headline a lot over the past year. But what exactly is the Paris Climate Agreement? And why did the United States withdraw from it? It’s been a little over a year since Trump withdrew from the Climate Agreement, and his decision is still met with a lot of criticism and skeptics. But did he make the right choice? I believe in climate change and feel that the United States should take part in the Agreement. Scientists and critics would agree with me, but let’s review the facts that will allow you to come to your own conclusion.

The first step to understanding the Paris Climate Agreement is understand what exactly climate change is. Global warming is another popular name for climate change. Climate change, “refers to the rise in average surface temperatures on Earth”. The huge controversy surrounding climate change is the argument about whether or not climate change is man-made. Certain politicians, including United States President, Donald Trump, have stated that they “Don’t know that it is man-made”. However, many reputable scientific research companies have publicly released data proving that climate change is man-made, including NASA. The graph below shows the extreme effects that climate change has had on the atmosphere in the past 50 years. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is one of mane greenhouse gases that has extreme negative effects on the atmosphere, thus creating global warming. As shown on the graph, the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen exponentially.

NASA

The Paris Climate Agreement is an agreement adapted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or UNFCCC. This agreement, “unites all the world’s nations in a single agreement on tacking climate change for the first time in history” (BBC). The main key element of the Agreement is that it aims to control global temperatures and keep them from continuing to rise. The graph shown below is an estimate of the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on temperature. The graph also serves as a prediction of what could happen if the Agreement is not implemented. The red portion of the graph shows the current direction the global temperature is headed in if the world doesn’t change its ways. The part of the graph marked “New pledges” is what the UNFCCC predicts will be the outcome of the Paris Agreement if completed.

Vox

As shown by the graph, the climate agreement could have a huge effect on average global temperatures. But why are global temperatures so important? The Paris agreement aims to keep global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius. A few degrees warmer? No big deal, right? Wrong. Scientists believe that if the world’s global temperature rises “Beyond 2 degrees, we risk dramatically higher seas, changes in weather patterns, food and water crises, and an overall more hostile world” (Vox). The earth simply can’t handle the amount of greenhouse gases that humans are producing. In order to stop global temperatures from rising, the UNFCCC looks to “limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100” (BBC).

Still not sure if climate change is really worth worrying about? Statistics have been released that show that the effects of climate change are already being experienced globally. Have you noticed that the summers are getting warmer, and the winters are getting colder? Have you heard about or experienced any record setting hurricanes or other natural disasters? All of these things are direct effects of climate change. The National Climate Assessment Reports predict that future effects of climate change will continue for hundreds of years, and include continued rise in temperatures, frost-free seasons will lengthen, precipitation patterns will change, and we will experience more droughts and heat waves (NASA). These changes increase risk for extreme storms, droughts, floods and wildfires, which will ultimately put millions of lives at risk every year.

In class we talked about what has changed since Trump withdrew from the Paris climate deal a year ago. While the article states that, “despite the uproar over the Paris withdrawal, it’s notable that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are hardly set to explode and the country is still slowly moving toward lower greenhouse gas emissions” (Washington Post). However, the article also states that it’s still early and certain new policies that are in progress of being passed including “Trump rollbacks and weakened fuel efficiency standards for cars, if those come to pass, could certainly lead to increased carbon dioxide emissions. One analysis by the Rhodium Group suggests they could add over 100 million tons annually by the year 2035 because of an auto standards rollback alone” (Washington Post).

In conclusion, climate change is definitely real and man-made, and the effects of it are already being felt. The entire world was shocked when President Trump withdrew for the Paris Agreement back in 2017. Although the true effects of the United States’ withdrawal from the climate agreement are yet to be seen, one thing is for sure: very little is going to change unless the “second largest global emitter of greenhouse gas” is willing to lead the charge. While the scientific effects of the United States’ withdrawal from the agreement are yet to be seen, the worldwide confusion of where the United States stands on climate change is evident. I believe that the United States needs to commit to the Climate Agreement. It is scientifically proven that the world will not be inhabitable if humans continue with the recklessness that is being seen right now. The planet is suffering from our reckless behavior, and the United States needs to join the Paris Climate Agreement in order to unite with other nations in an effort to save our planet.